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Articles of 2004

Johnson Confirms Roy Jones’ Suspect Chin

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Last night in attempt to win a piece of the light heavyweight title for the third time, Roy Jones was knocked out by Glencoffe Johnson 41-9-2 (28) in the ninth round with one straight right hand. Johnson, who is not a puncher, was 8-9-2 in his last 19 fights since 1997 and was making the first defense of his IBF light heavyweight title. In his last fight prior to fighting Johnson, Jones lost his title to Antonio Tarver. Tarver knocked Jones out in the second round with one explosive left hook. The left hook Tarver knocked Jones out with was the only clean punch he landed in the fight.

In his last two fights, Roy Jones has been counted out. Both times it was the result of being hit with one clean punch thrown by fighters who weren't known as punchers. Since turning pro in May of 1989, and breezing through his first 51 fights, Jones has been stopped twice. Has father-time finally caught up with Jones, or does he have a soft chin? Those are the only two factors that can clarify why Jones hasn't been able to finish his last two fights. That is unless you regard Tarver's left hook in the same vein as Bob Foster's, and Johnson's right hand the “Spinks Jinx.” Which is a conversation I'll never take part in.

In my opinion, father-time has slowed Jones slightly, and he can no longer out-speed his fundamental flaws. Like former heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali, Jones defied a lot of boxing basics and never learned fundamental defense. The fact is neither Ali or Jones ever learned how to block, slip, or parry a punch. They used their legs to keep from getting hit with big shots and moved away. This was wrong and most fighters wouldn't last long if they relied on the same tactic. What saved Ali and Jones was they were so fast in their prime, they could move away from the incoming punches faster than their opponent could deliver them.

Once Ali lost some of his speed as he aged, he was hit more frequently by his opponent's big shots. The same thing has now happened to Roy Jones. He no longer can escape his opponents’ punches by just out speeding them and using his legs to take him out of harms way. Now, like Ali at the end of his career, because he can no longer count on his speed for defense, he is getting hit more. The only difference between Muhammad Ali and Roy Jones is Ali has a cast iron chin, and Jones has a suspect one at best.

Those who want to believe Roy Jones was Sugar Ray Robinson incarnate, will point to his age as the reason why he's been counted out in his last two fights as the result of one punch. That's not a reach, and does factor in to the equation regarding Jones being stopped in consecutive fights. But the reason Jones was able to win a piece of the title in four different weight divisions is because his brilliant speed made him almost unhittable, and he never needed his suspect chin as the last line of defense.

All you have to do to realize this is—honestly ask yourself how many times was Jones nailed with a really big shot in his career before the second Tarver fight? The answer is he wasn't. Boxing fans and writers have been asking about Jones' chin his entire career. You couldn't say he had a weak chin because we never saw him really cracked on hit. So that would just be speculating. On the other hand, you couldn't say he had an outstanding or great chin because he never had to prove it.

Look, a chin is just like speed and punching power. A fighter is either blessed with it or he's not. The chin of a fighter doesn't erode overnight. Fighters with a good chin can be softened up by an accumulation of many punches over the course of many fights. An example would be Razor Ruddock. Ruddock had an outstanding chin in his two fights with Mike Tyson. However, after 19 tough rounds with Tyson, Ruddock was never as durable. Felix Trinidad did the same thing to Fernando Vargas. As a result of the bombs Vargas took during the fight with Trinidad, he left the ring a different fighter and much more prone to being knocked out.

The problem for Roy Jones is there isn't a Tyson or Trinidad fight in his career, not one. Jones' beard was never hit and tested at all over his first 51 fights, so it wasn't softened up a bit. And don't say it's because of his legs failing him. That is part of the reason as to why he's easier to hit, but his legs aren't the reason why he's been starched by one punch twice.

This may be a bit harsh, but other than politics, boxing is as harsh as it gets. The truth is Roy Jones was never hit once with any significant punches from 1989 through 2003, which is nothing short of being remarkable. Again, if you think that is too tough on him, just remember how many times you came away from 51 of his fights thinking how you never really saw him nailed with a punch that is worth remembering. It was a bunch of near hits and just misses, but nothing making any real contact. And give Jones credit for being that good, he just simply didn't allow his opponents to catch him with anything big. Not to mention that Jones never fought any outstanding punchers during his career.

I believe that Roy Jones has a weak chin, and that it was there his entire career. It's just that as long as he retained his speed, it was never a problem. But once he lost just a morsel of his reflexes and speed, his chin became reachable. Remember, Jones wasn't hit with anything close to the punches that Tarver and Johnson hit him with in his last to fights. We’re talking about being counted out twice as a result of one big punch.

In this writer's opinion, a fighter must have a great chin if he is to be compared favorably to the greatest of the greats. This is even more true in the heavyweight division. The chin needs to be the last line of defense because when great fighters fight other great fighters, nobody escapes being nailed, nobody. Had Roy Jones confronted some of boxing history’s greatest middleweight and light heavyweight champions, I know one thing, even at his brilliant best he would've been nailed, and more than once. How would he have held up?

No one can say for sure. The only thing I can say with absolute certainty is, I only saw Roy Jones get hit twice with a meaningful punch in his career, and both times that happened he was counted out. There's a reason why Jones never wanted a rubber match with Antonio Tarver, and it wasn't money. He was glove shy from the onset fighting a guy who couldn't punch. How would we he fight a guy that already knocked him out.

And to think at one time there was a boxing analyst who inferred that Jones would've probably defeated Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano. Eventually that analyst left his network because he wanted more money. I said it then, and I'll say it again, they should've fired him on the spot for saying something so utterly stupid. Can any true boxing aficionado envision Louis or Marciano being defeated by a fighter with no chin?

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List

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The final boxing pound-for-pound list of the year for 2004.

1. Bernard Hopkins: The top guy from beginning to end, Hopkins took care of Oscar De La Hoya with a body shot in the biggest fight of 2004. Now, he'll wait for Jermain Taylor to progress a little further, or he'll go the rematch route with Felix Trinidad. Either way, Hopkins stands to earn a lot of money in 2005 and extend that all-time middleweight reign.

2. Floyd Mayweather: How long has it been since we've seen Mayweather in a meaningful fight? Certainly not in 2004, when he outpointed the difficult DeMarcus Corley. He's slated for a January outing against a no-name. Enough stalling, already, “Pretty Boy”. Fight someone we care about (preferably Kostya Tszyu), or you'll lose your #2 position sometime in 2005.

3. Felix Trinidad: “Tito” stormed back with a magnificent knockout of Ricardo Mayorga in 2004, and now hopes to capitalize on it with big money fights. He'd like nothing more than a rematch with his only conqueror, Hopkins, but he may also opt for old nemesis Oscar De La Hoya. Either way, Trinidad is sure to fight a big fight sometime in the coming year.

4. Kostya Tszyu: What a difference one fight makes. As recently as late October, the boxing world was wondering whether Tszyu was even serious about the sport anymore. We found out with a second round demolition of Sharmba Mitchell. And that made the junior welterweight division very attractive. Tszyu has several options now, including Arturo Gatti and Mayweather or even a hop up to welterweight to challenge Cory Spinks. Let's hope one of them happens in 2005.

5. Manny Pacquiao: Pacquiao fought twice in 2004, and what a fight the first one was. His thrilling war with Juan Manuel Marquez was the best brawl of the year, and there is a chance that the two rivals will go at it again in 2005. If not, Pacquiao has a list full of options: Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, etc. Pacquiao will fight one of them in the next year.

6. Marco Antonio Barrera: Another guy thought to be washed up when the year started, Barrera resurrected his career for the second time with a masterful victory over Paulie Ayala and a close decision over rival Erik Morales in another great fight. Barrera is obviously shooting for a return with Pacquiao, who decimated him in November 2003. Barrera says it was an off-night. Hopefully, we'll find out if that was the case.

7. Winky Wright: Winky entered the “superstar” realm in 2004 with a pair of decision victories over Shane Mosley. The first was very impressive, as Wright practically shut Mosley out. The second was closer, but proved once again that Winky was the superior fighter. He'd like a shot at Trinidad or Oscar De La Hoya, but neither will happen. He'd probably be best off shooting for a name like Fernando Vargas or Ricardo Mayorga.

8. Juan Manuel Marquez: After several years on the outside looking in, Marquez is finally in a position to make some money after his courageous performance against Pacquiao. He rose from three first-round knockdowns to wage the fight of his life in a fight that was ruled a draw. It would also be interesting to see Marquez against countrymen Barrera and Erik Morales.

9. Erik Morales: “El Terrible” fought another great fight against Barrera, but, again, it was in a losing cause. He has now lost two of three to his fierce rival, and probably wants nothing to do with him anymore. But, eventually, talk of Barrera-Morales 4 will come up again. In the meantime, Morales could shoot for Pacquiao or Marquez.

10. Glencoffe Johnson: The newest entry, Johnson pumped some life into boxing in 2004 with a pair of upsets of Roy Jones Jr. and Antonio Tarver. Now, he's set to make some really big money in rematches with either, or a shot at old conqueror Hopkins. Either way, Johnson is better than anyone imagined.

11. Jose Luis Castillo: Castillo made some comeback noise of his own in 2004, beating Juan Lazcano for his old vacant title and decisioning Joel Casamayor for another big win. He says he wants Kostya Tszyu next, and if that materializes, boxing fans will be in for a treat. If not, Castillo vs. Diego Corrales is a great fight.

12. Oscar De La Hoya: Hard to erase that picture of De La Hoya grimacing in agony courtesy of a Hopkins shot to the ribs, but the “Golden Boy” had no business fighting at 160 pounds. He should drop down to junior middle or even welterweight again if he has any hope of regaining his past form. But 2005 could be the final year for one of boxing's all-time great attractions.

On the brink: Antonio Tarver, Diego Corrales, James Toney

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Articles of 2004

Heavyweight Joe Mesi Bringing Lawsuit

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As reported by the Buffalo News, Joe Mesi is suing the New York State Athletic Commission and the MRI center that conducted tests on the heavyweight boxer after his bout with Vassiliy Jirov. Mesi reportedly suffered brain injuries in the Jirov bout, which has left his boxing status uncertain.

The lawsuit alleges Mesi's medical records were improperly released to the NYSAC. The records, the lawsuit goes on to allege, were then released to the media, prejudicing Mesi's right to have his status reviewed by the appropriate boxing authorities.

The lawsuit does not seek specific monetary damages, as the extent of damages will be affected by whether Mesi is able to resume his career as a leading heavyweight contender.

Mesi hopes to have his status reviewed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission within the coming month. The ruling of the NSAC promises to be key in whether Mesi will be able to resume his boxing career.

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Articles of 2004

The Best in Chicago Boxing Returns

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Dominic Pesoli's 8 Count Productions and Bob Arum's Top Rank Incorporated along with Miller Lite presents SOLO BOXEO DE MILLER, THE ARAGON RUMBLE, another installment of The Best in Chicago Boxing on Friday, January 14th, broadcast live internationally as part of Telefutura's Friday night professional boxing series.

The newly remodeled Aragon Ballroom is located at 1106 W. Lawrence Ave. near the corner of Lawrence and Broadway in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and is easily accessible, just 4 blocks west of Lake Shore Drive and just 4 miles east of the Kennedy expressway. There are three large parking lots located within a 1/2 block of the Aragon Ballroom. Additionally, the Howard Street Blue Line stops just across the street. Doors will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

Headlining the action packed card is the American debut of super-bantamweight Ricardo “PIOLO” Castillo, 12-2 (6KO's) of Mexicali, Mexico as he squares off in a scheduled ten rounder against WBO Latino Champion, Edel Ruiz, 24-12-3 (13KO's) of Los Mochis, SI, Mexico. Castillo will be accompanied to the ring by his brother, World Lightweight Champion Jose Luis Castillo.

In the co-main event of the evening, one of Chicago's most popular fighters, middleweight “MACHO” Miguel Hernandez, 14-1 (9KO's), battles hard swinging local veteran “MARVELOUS” Shay Mobley, 7-4-1 (2KO's), of One In a Million Inc.in a scheduled eight rounder.

The huge undercard bouts include;

Carlos Molina vs TBA, six rounds, junior middleweights
Frankie Tafoya vs TBA, four rounds, featherweights
Ottu Holified vs. Allen Medina, four rounds, middleweights
Francisco Rodriguez vs. LaShaun Blair, four rounds, bantamweights
Rita Figueroa vs. Sarina Hayden, four rounds, junior welterweights

Said Dominic Pesoli, President of 8 Count Productions, “it was a terrific evening last month and our fans were thrilled to be at the Aragon to watch David, Speedy and Luciano. David Diaz's fight against Jaime Rangel was a fight people will talk about for a long time. Our commitment to our fans is to make every event of ours better than the last one. This main event is terrific, both guys are very tough Mexicans who won't take a step back.

The fans love Miguel and Mobley figures to be a very tough opponent. Him and David Estrada had a six round war last June at our show. And the undercard showcases a lot of new, younger talent that is coming out of Chicago right now. Tafoya and Holifield have both had very successful beginnings to their careers and Francisco Rodriguez comes with fantastic amateur credentials and David Diaz says he has all the talent to be a great pro.”

“We've got big plans for 2005 and this show should take up right where last months show left off. The huge crowd loved the action last time and I'm sure they'll say the same thing this time.”

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